SHplates Rucking Plate Review

SHplates Steel Rucking Plate

SHplates 35 lb Rucking Plate, MSRP $140.00 (as tested)

www.shplates.com

Author: Toby Asplin

Photos: Toby Asplin

FTC Disclosure: The products reviewed were provided by the manufacturer/distributor.

Strength and Honor. SHplates calls to memory the characteristics of fallen brothers in arms while providing a weighty burden for your good livin’.

You can order your SHplate etched with virtually anything.
You can order your SHplate etched with virtually anything.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “You’re reviewing a steel plate? What is there to say?” It’s steel. It’s a plate and it’s relatively heavy for its size.

End of review? Not quite.

As the popularity of rucking (carrying a ruck sack for exercise, competition or a team-focused event like GORUCK) has grown, so has the market for weights to be carried in one’s ruck. Early options included bricks, often culled from abandoned job sites or found on Craigslist, sandbags or the gear you might utilize during the event for which you were training.

All those things were fine, with a few exceptions. Most, however, left you with little room for anything else in your ruck.

Enter steel plates.

The down side to steel plates was that many of the originals had sharp edges. Some still do. Sharp edges and ruck material – even the toughest of ruck material – don’t play well together. The steel always wins.

Rich Sanders, of Pittsburgh, PA (the steel city, of course) had a better idea – a plate with rounded edges and a coating to keep it from rusting.

Combined with the USPS’s “If it fits, it ships” service offering, a business was born.

Expect your SHplate to arrive looking something like this
Expect your SHplate to arrive looking something like this

SHplates provided Trek Tech Black with a 35 lb plate specifically intended to be carried in the laptop compartment of the GORUCK GR0 and make weight for GORUCK Selection.

When the plate arrived at my house, my mother in-law was staying with us. As I walked in the door after work, she said, “There’s a package on the front step and I couldn’t move it.” I knew, instantly, that the SHplate had arrived. Expect similar responses from mail room workers if you have your plate shipped to your place of business.

Shortly after the plate arrived, I loaded it up and went for a nice little ruck.

The plate is a tight fit in the GR0’s laptop compartment. While it may be a little difficult to close the zipper on the compartment, the tight fit is appreciated when doing PT with the ruck on one’s back. The plate doesn’t shift or move around at all.

While carrying bricks during training and in previous events, I had utilized a pack with compression straps to hold the bricks in place. Even when duct taped together, the bricks moved around quite a bit without the compression straps. The combination of this particular SHplate and the GORUCK GR0 alleviated the need for compression straps.

SHplate's 35 lb plate is a tight fit in the GR0's laptop compartment
SHplate’s 35 lb plate is a tight fit in the GR0’s laptop compartment

Once we figured out a technique for zipping the laptop compartment shut with the plate inside, it was relatively easy to get the plate in and out of the ruck.

Slip your index finger under the zipper and stretch it over the plate
Slip your thumb under the GR0’s laptop compartment zipper and stretch it over the plate

Our technique is as follows:

  1. Open the laptop compartment and drop in the plate
  2. Grasp the fabric and zipper of the deeper side of the laptop compartment, near the corner, between your thumb and forefinger (thumb inside the compartment)
  3. Stretch the fabric and zipper over the plate
  4. Zip the compartment closed while holding the fabric and zipper in place

After about a month and a half of use, I haven’t seen any damage to the laptop compartment or its zipper.

In the GR0, the plate carries close to the back without causing discomfort.

We tried the plate in a couple different, similarly-sized packs. The fit wasn’t as perfect as in the GR0. The plate tended to shift around a bit more – even with compression straps.

If you’re looking at GORUCK Selection … or for a training solution for any other ruck event … and own a GORUCK GR0, we’re confident that the SHplates 35 lb plate will serve you well. With the optional etching, you’ll also be in compliance with special operations forces Rule #1: Always look cool.